Preview: Friday's high-school football games
by Staff Writer
NORTH MECKLENBURG at HOUGH
Time: 7 p.m. Sept. 28
Records: North Mecklenburg 2-3, 1-1 in I-MECK 4A conference; Hough 5-1, 2-0
Last meeting: Hough won 28-16 in 2011.
The skinny: North Mecklenburg surpassed last season’s victory total by beating West Charlotte last week. The improving Vikings allowed only seven points, but will be severely tested by Hough, which is effective running or passing. Dre Long (689 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns) didn’t play the second half last week because of a knee injury, but Tory Burrell and Bobby Howard ran well in his place. Josh Stilley has 10 touchdown passes, including six to Sanders Poff and three to Nick Burrow. Defensive linemen Brandon Cassarino and Blake Dueitt have combined for nine sacks, and linebacker Ryan Lemke has a team-high 62 tackles. Hough has won five straight games. North Meck’s Adrian Byrd leads the lake area with five interceptions, and defenders Jaylin Bridges (41 tackles) and Devin Sutton (30 tackles) are having solid seasons.
HOPEWELL at LAKE NORMAN
Time: 7:30 p.m., Sept. 28
Records: Hopewell 1-4, 1-1 in I-MECK 4A conference; Lake Norman 1-1, 3-3
Last meeting: Hopewell won 50-26 in 2011.
The skinny: Both teams hope to rebound from losses last week and stay in contention for a playoff spot. Hopewell has allowed 26 or more points in every game. Lake Norman is ground-oriented, and runs with Josh Ladowski (715 rushing yards, nine touchdowns) and Eric Koehler (319 yards). They’ll need to sustain long, productive drives to keep the ball from Hopewell’s explosive offense. The Titans’ Tijuan Sifford has more than 1,200 passing yards, and is potent in the shotgun formation with four receivers scurrying about. It’ll be a contrast in offensive styles, and likely be determined by which defense plays best. Lake Norman had trouble containing Hopewell in last season’s 76-point game. This one could be high-scoring, too.
ASHEVILLE SCHOOL at SOUTHLAKE CHRISTIAN
Time: 7 p.m., Sept. 28
Records: Asheville School 1-3; SouthLake Christian 5-0
Last meeting: Asheville School won 21-17 in 2011 playoffs.
The skinny: SouthLake’s dominant team faces a revenge match of sorts. Asheville School eliminated the Eagles from the state semifinals last season, but is has struggled this season. Asheville has been outscored 117-35, and lost to Davidson Day by 47 last week. Its lone score came on an Naeem Swinton’s 85-yard kickoff return. SouthLake scores plenty behind Randy Schroeder (1,723 passing yards, 16 touchdown passes), Joey Gass (495 rushing yards), Demitri Allison (565 receiving yards) and Caleb Hines (548 receiving yards). The defense has allowed two touchdowns in five games. Linebacker Brian Jones (54 tackles) is quick going sideline to sideline, and is a powerful hitter. Andre Diouf has a team-high four interceptions.
BESSEMER CITY at LAKE NORMAN CHARTER
Time: 7:30 p.m., Sept. 28
Records: Bessemer City 0-6, 0-2 in Southern Piedmont 1A/2A conference; Lake Norman Charter 5-0, 2-0
Last meeting: Bessemer City won 21-18 in 2011.
The skinny: Lake Norman won its fifth straight game last week behind Alex Scearce, who ran for three touchdowns and caught a scoring pass from Michael Dorsainvil, and linebacker Jake Massey, who had nine tackles, a sack and forced a fumble. The Knights have scored 30 or more points every game. Tripp Smith (547 rushing yards), Scearce (223), LaMarcus Smith-Kelley (196) and Cameron Krueger (102) each average more than 10 yards per carry, testament to Charter’s outstanding blocking. It’s been a rough season for Bessemer City, which has allowed 30 or more points in every game. The Yellow Jackets aren’t prolific scorers, either (16 is their season-high), so if each team plays to form, this could get lopsided. But Bessemer City won last season.
- compiled by Cliff Mehrtens